Barre at Essex Wellness Center


Fitness on the Water, Essex Wellness Center’s workout studio, overlooks the Connecticut River and lets in plenty of light through its tall windows, so when you take Hillary Kennedy’s barre class, you can tremble and sweat in lovely environs.

After I checked in and was offered a complimentary cup of coffee, tea, or cider, Hillary started class to a soundtrack of upbeat drumming. She assured me and about nine other women that, yes, we could get through the next few plies, that it was good for our muscles to shake, and that nothing (i.e. pain or reps) lasts forever.

Following an energizing cardio warm-up, we worked our arms and upper body with light weights, then made our way to the barre for some serious glute and leg work. Class ended with a challenging ab series using the barre, a small, soft exercise ball, and light weights. Hillary didn’t skimp on stretching, and her expert cues, adjustments, and encouraging, upbeat instruction made the hour-long class fun, quick, and accessible to people of all fitness levels. And what better way to cool down than by wiping off your sweat with a chilled towel infused with lavender or peppermint and eucalyptus

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Classes: Yoga, tai chi, pilates, barre, spinning, personal training, meditation (free)

Schedule: 2-4 on weekdays, 4 on Saturday, 1 on Sunday. About 20 per week

Atmosphere: Bright and inviting. Gym, beautiful wood beam yoga/mediation room, 2 bathrooms.

Price: $18 drop-in, 6 sessions $99, 10-$165, 20-$320, 50-$725. $20 day pass, 1-month single/joint $49/$89, 6-month $240/$399, annual $450/$799.

Extras: Free meditation classes, gym, massage and acupuncture services, outdoor classes, “The Cuddy” snack and sundry shop. The Wellness Center, located at 28 Main Street, offers a variety of holistic services and therapies.

by Amanda Bloom